Bayern 04 Leverkusen forward Kevin Volland says it will be a special affair when he faces his former team, TSG 1899 Hoffenheim, in a Bundesliga encounter on Saturday.
The BayArena outfit languish in tenth place in the Bundesliga standings, having collected ten points from a possible 21, and the Germany international is hoping a victory against Hoffenheim can help his side turn the corner following a stuttering start to the campaign.
“We endured a tricky start to the campaign while, in truth, in our last match away to Werder Bremen [a 2-1 defeat] we did not play well,” he told the Bundesliga’s website.
“We must regain some consistency in order to climb our way up the table. We need to demonstrate our quality in order to begin a winning run. Hard work and focus are what’s required.
“The recent defeat in Bremen hurt us a lot because it was all down to us; we didn’t play well. The fact that there are many games left, however, means we can make up for the poor showings in the past. The bottom line is that we have to progress in the Champions League while we also have our chances to improve in the Bundesliga; the season is still young,” he added.
The 24-year-old spent four years at Hoffenheim, before making a move to Leverkusen in May 2016, and admits he has fond memories of his time at the Wirsol Rhein-Neckar-based outfit.
“This is obviously going to be a very special game for me, a game where I’ll face my old colleagues. I had a great time in Hoffenheim and still maintain a very good relationship with many of the players and staff members,” he said.
“I keep in regular contact with Sebastian Rudy, Mark Uth and the guys from the physio department. They’re all great guys and I’m pleased that I’ll be able to see them again.
“I think it’s the way it should be, that I still have good friends at the club after my four years there.
“I remember when playing in Julian Nagelsmann’s team last season, you could sense the team stepping up a level. Hoffenheim subsequently added strength during the summer.
“Although they like to play on the front foot, they can operate within a variety of systems. I think that Hoffenheim are justifiably where they are right now because of the solid work they’re putting in. It all adds up to being a very difficult game for us on Saturday.”